Bollywood's Rules of Journalism
Welcome to Bollywood 101 where we're going to look at the warped lens through which the Hindi film industry pigeonholes our non-cinematic professions, glamming or uglying them up for the big screen.
Looking with mild trepidation towards Ram Gopal Varma's approaching Rann, here's our first set of rules -- to see how Bollywood shows journalists.
All TV journalists work for India TV
Sensationalism is the name of the game, really.
Bollywood, in a bid to paint the media unidimensionally as a headline-crazed mob, has pretty much every television journalist depicted as someone working for one of those Sansani-kind of shows, screaming headlines and painting politicians as evil men for missing their daughter's birthday.
Image: A scene from Rann
Every female journalist is Lois Lane
Not that there's anything wrong with Mrs Superman, but being a woman in the news business in Hindi cinema automatically qualifies you to be a constantly smug know-it-all who is gunning for a fictional Pulitzer Prize.
Like Sridevi in Mr India, they're all committed, fearless and will do anything to expose the truth -- even if it means an item-song or two.
Image: Sridevi in a scene from Mr India
Editors are evil people
This one isn't surprising at all, to be frank.
Writers hate editors, and screenwriters just transfer this traditional animosity to the screen. So it is that editors -- as we see in films as widespread as Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and Main Azaad Hoon -- are grumps who scowl at fresh-faced young talents and will readily sell their souls for a headline.
That said, it isn't completely far from the truth.
Image: Boman Irani plays an editor in Page 3
They find an astonishing amount of time to do their hair
Not just do Indian reporters stray from the formalwear the profession's more established international exponents insist on, but the heat and dust in cities like Mumbai -- which is where most Bollywood journos are based -- mean that, while on duty, we're all mostly a bunch of sweat-stained, ill-dressed wrecks.
Our cinematic cousins, on the other hand, have Manish Malhotra and perfect hair, but -- just because they're journalists -- are given spectacles, apparently to appear smarter.
Image: Koel Puri in It's Breaking News
Front page scoops come about by coincidence
While it cannot be denied that once in a very blue moon, a newsbreak just drops into your lap and all you have to do is think up a clever headline and yell 'stop press' -- which only, only happens in the movies, really -- most of the time a massive story is broken by lots of legwork.
Bollywood of course believes in all moons being blue, and so chance -- and a quick, meaningless montage -- are enough to ensure tomorrow's banner headline.
Image: Preity Zinta in Lakshya